Benefits of Chiropractic Care During & After Pregnancy
Pregnant and postpartum women have few options when it comes to pain relief. They can’t or may not want to take medications that may affect their baby, but their changing bodies demand some form of relief from the strain of carrying a baby, both during pregnancy and after giving birth.
Chiropractic care can help pregnant women and new moms manage their discomfort and pain in a completely natural, 100% drug-free manner. With just a few simple adjustments, moms will be breathing a sigh of relief.
Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, a woman’s body goes through many, many changes as it adjusts to accommodate a growing baby and then prepares for birth. These changes help loosen the muscles and prep the body for delivery but they can also put uncomfortable pain and pressure on the lower back.
As the baby grows, a woman’s center of gravity changes and the back must accommodate for that. This change in the center of gravity, along with the increased weight of pregnancy, can lead to muscles and ligaments that are stretched to the point that they pull the spine out of alignment which can contribute to lower back pain.
Chiropractic treatment can put the spine back in proper alignment, which will help the muscles do their job of supporting the lower back and belly. Adjustments can provide immediate relief for many moms-to-be and are one of the safest pain management options available.
Many women wonder how they can possibly lie face down on a chiropractic table, especially in the later months of pregnancy. But special pregnancy tables have a cut-out that accommodates growing bellies. The tables adjust to the size of the woman’s abdomen, allowing her to lie flat and face-down on the table, just as she would for an adjustment if she weren’t pregnant.
These special tables are very comfortable for pregnant women, who are usually happy to lie down and have the pressure of carrying the baby taken off of their bodies for a few minutes. Chiropractic adjustments then proceed as they would on a non-pregnant patient. Adjustments are very gentle and do not harm the baby. Some babies seem to like the results of the adjustment, moving around and kicking now that they have more room.
Chiropractic Care After Birth [Postnatal Chiropractic Treatment]
After the baby has been born, moms face a host of new changes that can affect their spinal health. Their bodies are adjusting back to their pre-pregnancy state, but they may still be carrying some extra baby weight, which can strain the back. In the meantime, milk has come in, which can strain the upper back. To top it all off, they are carrying a baby and a baby carrier around, are probably on their feet more than they were pre-pregnancy, and are bending over more to pick up the baby or change diapers. The amount of lifting a woman does once she has a baby increases dramatically and her body may have trouble adjusting to these demands on its own, which is where chiropractic care can help. Chiropractors routinely treat new moms for necks, upper and mid-back pain, and discomfort.
The best time to have an adjustment is within 6 weeks of giving birth, but adjustments can help at any time. The relaxant hormones that loosened the body up for pregnancy and childbirth wear off after 6 weeks postpartum. Getting adjusted before the hormones disappear allows chiropractors to take advantage of the more relaxed muscle state when the body is more flexible and pliable, making it more open to adjustment.
Chiropractic Care For Infants
Pregnant women have few options for relieving pain and discomfort, but infants have even fewer. However, chiropractic care can help them too. Infants can benefit from chiropractic adjustments soon after birth.
Since babies can’t talk, determining whether your child needs an adjustment takes some observation. Most moms will become attuned to their children’s posture and tendencies and will notice when something isn’t looking right. Monitoring the baby while breastfeeding can uncover neck issues. If the child prefers one side over the other or seems to be holding his or her neck at an odd angle, there could be an issue with neck alignment.
Chiropractic care for infants has also been used to treat:
- Digestive issues
- Ear infections (the number one reason parents come in for treatment)
Chiropractic care is suitable for children of any age because it helps the body regain its natural function by relieving pressure on the nerves. Infant and child adjustments are not like the adjustments that adults undergo. Instead, a minor pressure is used, using only the fingertips, to make the adjustments. Since cartilage is still hardening into the bone at this age, it does not take much pressure to have an effect, unlike the pressure needed to treat adults.
Chiropractic adjustments during pregnancy, post-partum, and for infants may initially be considered when there aren’t very many other options available, but they really offer the perfect opportunity to introduce parents and their children to a natural method of health care that does not rely on drugs or medications.